Julian is now two thirds of the way through his mammoth pilgrimage. It’s been very tough for him at times – what with theft, sunstroke, recurring illness, and the disappointment he’s faced several times with the changing nature of The Way.
You may not always agree with Julian, but I personally feel privileged to be able to post his observations on this blog – because he walked his first Camino before most of us had even heard of it. He really is the true pilgrim, in action and in spirit.
Here is his latest guest post:
Dawn and Dusk
This is a very different Camino, even though it’s also more of the same.
I thought that this would be my toughest Pilgrimage for my knees, but it’s turning out to be my toughest Pilgrimage for some completely different reasons. My knees have been behaving quite civilly, and I’ve been not using my bracers for four weeks and not been taking my painkillers for three, even though my speed remains slow, and my KM/day low.
An unexpected belly illness has been eating into both my body and my budget for several weeks, though I think it’s now getting under control, but some un-pilgrim has also stolen my telephone, and the French “social” “services” seem to have decided to leave me close to penniless for my second half of theWay.
The pennilessness has now happened Every Single Pilgrimage, no matter what I try and do to prevent it, though this is the first time I’ve needed to start begging. The loss of the ‘phone is a litle different, because even though it makes my contact with the world beyond the Camino much harder, it is also bringing me back closer into what the Camino actually should be — similar to the penniless, really.
The un-pilgrims are harder to deal with — not those in the process of learning, though talking with them remains difficult until they get their heads ’round the Camino a bit more ; but the massive numbers of Tourigrinos and, well, … just hikers who have not even the faintest idea of how to even commence a Pilgrimage and yet do all that they can to monopolise all of the facilities for their own very un-spiritual needs.
Ten years ago, the 5AM crowd were easy to locate and avoid ; they travelled in little groups, and one could simply move on to the next pueblo. Less said about the 4AM people, the better.
In 2014, I am typically the ONLY person remaining in the Refugio when dawn breaks, and I am immensely saddened by this crowd of hikers who never let themselves be woken by the natural Grace and Beauty of the pre-Dawn Light upon their eyelids, nor experience the natural rest of a Dusk ’til Dawn sleep.
They hike, and do not seek.
Sounds like it has been much harder on you spiritually and mentally rather than physically From Saria on I do feel you will find more tourigrinos but Pilgrims do have to share the way and maybe just maybe each of them will find some bit of spirituality or inner peace to take home with them. I hope the rest of the journey goes much better for you.
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Julian, it is nice to hear from you again. I can sympathize with the view of tourigrinos.
I differ a bit on your view of the early risers, simply because for the first months, I too was an early riser by choice. I felt the need to walk quietly under the stars and revelled in the feel of the warmths of the sun on my back, even before I saw the sun in its glory. This time of the morning was very special to me and almost the only time when I was able to walk alone.
I hope your continued camino will provide you with all that you seek. Ultreia Ingrid
Careful Julian. First part of being a pilgrim is not to judge other pilgrims. Live and let live. Walk and let walk. 😊😊
Steve, there’s a difference between judging and categorising — and between relating my feelings and justifying them.
👍 i’m with you. Buen Camino. Sounds like quite an adventure. 😊
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I spent a day and a half at the Toad’s and Rebekah’s, and it’s hardly surprising that so many people who have passed through there are so much in love with the place.
Their hospitality and their welcome and, well, pretty much everything there are impeccable, and it is simply THE best place to rest along the Camino.
I am so glad to have met them both in person, finally, and though the Toad and I may continue to snipe at each other’s opinions and thoughts online, my instinctive liking of him has been confirmed by his person.
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I’m at Astorga.
The begging is starting to get pretty tedious, but I will at least have something of my own over the final 100 K into Santiago
The Tourigrinoism is not easy to deal with
Hi julian – I hate the thought of you having to beg.
Is there some way I can send you some more money – but so that the French Gov doesn’t pinch it, like last time?